Red light cameras have been a popular solution introduced by municipalities in New Jersey and across the country to cut down on red light violations and improve traffic safety. They also often have the effect of increasing revenue from tickets because the cameras are mounted on light poles to capture images of cars that run through red lights as well as their license plates. Drivers who run red lights may receive tickets in the mail without the need for police stops for traffic offenses. Red light running is a serious safety concern, especially because 800 people are killed every year in car accidents linked to the practice while thousands more are injured.
However, despite the threat posed by negligent drivers running red lights and causing serious car accidents, red light cameras have been widely criticized. Some say that they are a means of revenue enhancement that fail to make the roads safer and even increase some types of dangers. In Chicago, a widespread red light camera system with attendant heavy fines was put into effect. However, it was combined with the shortest allowable yellow light timing. The cameras were associated with an increase in rear-end motor vehicle collisions caused by drivers attempting to race through yellow lights and avoid tickets.
Others point out that the problem here was the implementation rather than the cameras. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says its research shows that cities with red light cameras have 21% fewer deaths from accidents caused by red light running, and overall violations go down by 40% when cameras are placed.
While red light cameras may help to improve roadway safety, people continue to face severe injuries every day due to negligent drivers. People hurt in a car accident caused by someone else running a red light may work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation.